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Hosepipe bans lifted in Britain after record rains
by Staff Writers
London (AFP) July 9, 2012

Four water companies in Britain which imposed hosepipe bans earlier this year have lifted the restrictions after months of unseasonable heavy rain.

The move comes after a week of torrential downpours triggered floods across large swathes of the country in the wettest June on record in Britain.

In a joint statement, water suppliers said "abnormally heavy rainfall" meant groundwater supplies had recovered sufficiently to allow them to lift the ban.

South East Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water, Veolia Water Central and Veolia Water Southeast imposed restrictions in early April after two unusually dry winters led to a drought in parts of Britain.

Three other companies which also had bans in place lifted them last month.

Mike Hegarty, operations director for Sutton and East Surrey Water, said the recovery of underground water sources at this time of year was unexpected but "most welcome".

"The recharge (of aquifers) is unprecedented and is the highest increase in water levels ever recorded in our area at this time of year," he said.

Figures from Britain's Met Office national weather service show that double the average rain fell in June -- the wettest since records began in 1910 -- while April was also the wettest on record.

Forecasters have warned that the wet weather could continue further into the British summer, and warned that sunny weather in London is "very unlikely" during the London Olympics.

Forecasters said below average sunshine and temperatures were expected during the Games which run from July 27 to August 12, with very wet conditions more probable than dry ones.

Last month heavy rains drenched revellers celebrating Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee, while on Saturday spectators were turned away from the British Grand Prix at Silverstone due to flooded car parks.

The Environment Agency has 14 flood warnings, meaning flooding is expected, and 84 flood alerts signalling possible flooding, in place across the country.


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